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Poland football team presses to play

Bulldogs ask board to keep season intact

POLAND — The Bulldogs want to hit that new turf.

Two letters were read at this week’s board of education meeting regarding the upcoming football season, both signed by the Poland football team requesting officials to keep the season open.

“We know this isn’t going away soon,” one letter states concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. “With the new turf, we are poised for the most successful season we’ve had in a long time.”

A new playing surface was being placed earlier Monday at the Dave Pavlansky Field at Poland Seminary High School. The $956,018 replacement has been going on since June 1, with AstroTurf of Pittsburgh completing the work.

While the team realizes the governor can still shut down activities, the team wants the school board to do all it can to keep the season open — as far as the state will allow.

The players, in one of the letters, noted athletic scholarships will be on the line.

“We are ready to play this season. We are ready to win a state title,” the second letter read.

Both letters were read into the minutes, after which Superintendent David Janofa responded.

“We all want school and sports to happen,” Janofa said. “Mr. (Brian) Banfield (Poland athletic director) and I talk every day on how things are going.”

Janofa said one of the possible problems schools will face concerns the state’s new color coding of virus severity for counties. If Mahoning County is in the yellow category, and Poland is playing a school in a red county, it’s not known how a game would be played, if at all.

He said things are changing daily with the pandemic, but the district is moving toward school opening on Sept. 8. The staff will be in school the week prior.

“In this pandemic situation, things happen quickly. I know how challenging it was to come up with a schedule,” board President Gregg Riddle said. “We have to have a safe environment for our kids to return to school. We have every intent to open schools on time.”

In the meantime, work continues on the stadium and turf project. The board approved several change orders including $8,234 to Astro Turf for a concrete walk in front of the band bleachers and $2,957 for an additional day of digging.

Also approved for the stadium project was R.T. Vernal Paving and Excavating for repairing existing damage and thin base asphalt at the track at a cost of $21,250 and replacement of pavement adjacent to the running track and locker room on the southeast side of the stadium and inclusion of new downspouts, catch basins and stormwater lines at a cost of $37,500.

The board also approved ACA Engineering to perform the survey and design for drainage around the perimeter of Poland Seminary High School at a cost of $8,100.

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